The State of Customer Service


Print this important document for easy reference during the semester

Student discussion is a significant activity for both learning and sharing what you have learned. The quality and frequency of your discussion during the semester will count toward your course grade. The following are instructions for our class discussions this semester. Even if you are a veteran of distance learning, please read these, as they may differ from other online courses you've taken.


Your original response to a discussion question must be posted from the screen where I posted the question. When you reply to other students, pay attention to where you are in the thread. Do you want to respond to the original student's reply? If so, make sure to click "respond" from his or her post, even if other people have already responded to it. If you want to reply to someone else's response to the original student, that is different and you should respond directly from that person's post in the thread.

If you are responding after others have, pay attention to what the previous people said. You'll need to say something different or bring up new aspects or questions for a satisfactory response (see grading rubric below.) You might be better off responding to a post that has few or no other responses as of yet.

Subject Lines

It works best if you write your response first, then go back and fill in the subject line. That way, you will be in a much better position to clearly and specifically indicate to the reader what your post is about. This is important! Subject lines like "Reply" or "Discussion #1" or "I agree" or "What you said is true" are not helpful in the discussion threads and should not be used. (See grading rubric below.) A clear and specific subject line would be something like "Civil Law-A matter between two parties."

Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation

This is a college course, not instant messaging. Proofread every discussion response for correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and typographical errors before you submit it. Remember that you need to start each sentence with a capital letter and capitalize other letters according to Standard English usage. (For example, "I am", not "i am".) Internet abbreviations like "lol" are not appropriate. Any material taken directly from the textbook or another source must be enclosed in quotation marks with the source cited. Pay close attention to assure you use the correct way to punctuate the citation.

Correcting your Response

If you discover an error in your document after you submit it (a misspelled word or an incomplete thought) you can edit your document. Click on the title of your post, then click on "edit".  Make your changes and then click "save".

Amount of Participation

I'll be looking for participation early and frequently in each discussion (see grading rubric below.) These are discussions, so you must participate in them actively, just like you would if you were talking to the other students face-to-face in the classroom. Most of the discussions last for about a week, requiring your first response usually no later than Wednesday at midnight. Let's say you log on to the discussion for the first time on Wednesday evening at 9:00 p.m. You are required to reply and then you respond to several (two) other students who posted earlier in the week. By the time you log off on Wednesday, you have exceeded the minimum number of required replies for that week's discussion. Even if all of your responses are excellent, you will not receive an excellent grade, unless you return to the discussion later in the week. I call this “post and dash”, you have not considered all of the perspectives shared in “class”.

Most often, you will have two required responses in a discussion session. If you do exactly two responses in the whole discussion and they are of average quality (see grading rubric below) you will have earned a minimum satisfactory grade of 70 (low C) for that discussion. The more posts you make and the higher their quality, the higher your grade will be for the discussion.


You may not necessarily receive a grade for each individual discussion. Instead, your overall participation grade in all of the discussions for the course will be reflective of your overall discussion participation. Periodically, I will provide feedback on your discussion.

Discussion Etiquette

1. Use Respectful Language

As in the classroom, please use respectful language in your comments and replies so that all of your classmates feel welcome and comfortable. Thank you for not using negative language that is discriminatory or a put-down in any way.

2. Do not use ALL CAPS

Capital letters are like "SHOUTING" on the Internet and are generally considered rude. If it is appropriate and you are excited about an idea, go ahead and use caps with discretion.

3. Practice Good Listening

Refer directly to another person's input. If their wording or thoughts are not clear to you, ask them for clarification in a respectful manner. (e.g. "When you wrote ___, did you mean ___?")

4. Healthy Debating

You may, of course, disagree with a classmate's input. We all have various perspectives. However, please do not attack someone's comments. Rather, suggest an alternative or additional view and back up your view with a reliable source or experience.

5. Focus

Keep the discussion focused on the concepts. Be careful not to go off on tangents that are not related to the topic at hand.

Grading Rubrics

I use the following rubrics to evaluate your discussion responses. You will do best in your discussion grade if you read these rubrics carefully and think about the criteria each time you submit a discussion response.


*EXCELLENT (full credit)

· Specifically mentions or quotes relevant instructional material; material quoted directly is punctuated and cited correctly. Responses are thorough and varied in date.

· Shows excellent grasp and correct application of instructional material.

· Completely answers all parts of the discussion question.

· Is thorough (in-depth.)

· Is well organized and focused.

· Uses correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.

· Subject line that specifically and clearly conveys the main point of the post.

· Frames reply in the context of business and the topic being studied by specifically referring to or     quoting from relevant instructional material.

· Brings up new observations, applications or questions.

· Is relevant to the current discussion thread.

· Shows excellent grasp and correct application of instructional material.

· Is thorough (in-depth.)

· Is well organized and focused.

· Uses correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.

· Subject line that specifically and clearly conveys the main point of the post.


· May not completely convey the required elements but is still above average in overall content. Brings up new observations, applications or questions.


·Lacks most or all of the required elements – e.g. very poor content, extremely brief, incomplete answer, or unacceptable mechanics, although still within the dates of the overall discussion. Often expresses mostly personal opinion, experience or anecdote without specifically referring to instructional material. Expresses relevant personal opinion, experience or anecdote but does not relate specifically to instructional material or bring up new observations, applications or questions. Personal opinion, experience or anecdote that mostly repeats other people’s responses. Does not add anything new of substance to the discussion OR good comments but strays off the assigned discussion topic.


· Comments that are welcome if they contribute to the discussion socially, but which add no new information. Examples: “I agree,” “That was terrible service!” “Thank you,” “You did a good job,” Posting at the last minute; replying to others students all on the same day and never returning to make further contributions to discussion.

“Discussion Instructions" by Sue Stafford, Tompkins Cortland Community College is licensed under CC BY 4.0